Ever thought twice about how pharmaceutical companies influence our habits? Ever wondered why certain people go on to do certain professions?
As a child whenever I’d watch or read Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, I replaced the chocolate factory with a pharmaceutical manufacturing plant instead. Why? Well, it stemmed from a curiosity of cough drops or flu syrups, which my parents often combined and fed me as a child. I’ve always questioned the taste of such medication. Why were they so bitter? Did they have to be bitter? At about the same time, I watched Mary Poppins and began singing “A spoonful of sugar makes the medicine go down”. Soon, I began deciphering ways to take my medicine without so much as a flinch. Growing born in the Disney renaissance era not only made me question, but it made me dream. Maybe, one day medication would have minimal side effects and would be a highlight of being sick.
International Health Management MSc students seem to come to the program for various reasons. Some have big dreams of healing the world, others are redirecting their destinies towards management. Whatever it is, a strong emphasis is made on passion to improve current conditions, current systems, and current trends in the health industry, which ranges from healthcare to pharmaceuticals and international organisations.
The programme itself boasts an intensive ten month period when students learn management and healthcare. Similar to other management courses, we take classes on strategic management, marketing, human resources, and accounting. Unlike our peers in the business school, we study health informatics, health economics, in addition to health systems, policy and financing. A niche MSc course, IHM expects students to understand both management and health in order to join the workforce or academia and improve current methods.
Although my journey was inspired by large dreams, it only truly began when reality hit me in the head. Coming from Indonesia, a developing country with a new healthcare system and hospitals springing up like mushrooms, I managed to lead my entire life without having to use the ambulance or having to stay in hospital overnight. I am privileged, but I am not representative of my nation. A land with no 999 emergency hotline or coordinated hospital standardization. Horror stories about people losing lives because doctors are stuck in traffic are all too common. Even the thought of managing a hospital a business that prioritises on people, instead of profits, was unthinkable, despite the degree of variance between healthcare systems and its peers.
Hence, two years before I graduated from college, I began looking for specific programs that dealt with health management. Many were focused on certain countries, but none were as international as Imperial’s IHM course.
The first set of classes were completed on November 14. Two months just flew by without a warning. The course itself came with its up and downs, akin to the roller coaster rides felt in A&Es across the UK. However, one thing pulled me through: improving care, be it improving services to patients or improving the taste of medication. Funnily enough, I have the sneaky feeling that my peers also relied on their motivations.